Big Dots Revised

Around 12 months ago, I started a little TeacherspayTeachers store to house my growing collection of clipart and graphics. Those that have known me that long, can appreciate how far I have come.
I never had a clear picture of where I wanted to go with it, I only knew one thing. I loved creating digital images, loved learning how to get better every day, and LOVED sharing with other teachers. I have quite a long and challenging little relationship with clipart for digital teaching resources, and every time I banged my head against a brick wall, or faced a big expense trying to find them for myself, little did I know I was one step closer to biting the bullet, and making them myself. For someone that was only used to drawing and painting with paper, canvas, pencils and pastels, it has been a HUGE and challenging journey. One that is quite emotional for me, and one that has been intensely personal for many reasons.
So here I am one year later, feeling like it has been ten years. A little tired, but reflecting on how much I have learnt and feeling quite proud (can I say that?!)
 I started out wanting nothing more than to ease the struggle (that I had faced) for other teachers and self-publishers. To give others some creative freedom to make resources and teaching aids to further share once more with even more teachers. There is no feeling like starting a project, inserting some images and knowing full well, that you wont be faced with a copyright and limited usage issues years down the track. I wanted to give other people the freedom that I had found myself.
Thank you to all the wonderful people that have supported Graphics From the Pond this past year. You and your wonderful comments and emails of support have kept me going.
I received a very important email last week, with a show of support that I never saw coming, and it reaffirmed that I have been on the right track. It can be a lonely and confusing existence at times, I am sure others in this arena will know what I mean. I am grateful for this recent support, as it has spurred me to give even more for our second year of graphics!
And my special people - you know who you are - I won't forget your kindness, respect and support. And you will be repaid one day, cause that is how the world works you know!
Those of you in this arena, will understand how brave you have to be, to 'put your stuff out there', amongst some of the most talented and respected teachers around the world. I love you even more that you sent me messages telling me my first attempts were grand, even though some of them were far from. Thank you. I mean it! I was shocked at the time, and continue to be. Teachers rock!
To celebrate, I have revised a FREE set that is long overdue! Our 'Big Dots' have been given a freshen up.
This was the first set of borders I ever created. I know each of those dots like the back of my hand, because, not knowing any better, I drew each individual one to make the pattern. My word! See how the dots are not even and perfect circles - that's cause I didn't know how to do it! How things have changed.... he he! I really am self taught you see! The first collection took me a few days to get finished, now I am far better skilled, I was able to revise them in far less time - and add MORE!
The set now included digital papers, unfilled borders and filled borders.
And the whole spanking lot is now also included in A4 size for my growing troop of fellow Aussie resource-makers!
So if you love the Big Dots as much as I do, you may want to head over to TpT and get yourself a brand new set!
Every time I see them, I get a bit choked up, thinking about my journey,  and the days I sat down (a little scared but excited) to attempt a pattern with those dots
and for you ....
I hope you see bright fun and happiness.


Our TeacherspayTeachers stores are on sale for
Monday 26th - Tuesday 27th November
(USA time)
Aussies - because of our time differences, you have until Wednesday to grab some bargains!
EVERYTHING in our stores is on sale + if you enter the code CMT12 at checkout, TpT will give you a  bonus 10% discount!
Head over to our Teaching Resource and Graphics stores now!

Santa Puppet and 'How to' Writing

We made this simple and very cute Santa puppet yesterday. We used a brown paper bag, our favourite markers (they are HUGE and cover a large space in a teeny tiny time frame), cotton wool balls and glue.

We folded the two top corners around to the back and secured them with tape

We drew all of the features, then stuck some cotton wool on to make the beard and moustache.

This photo shows the back. Too easy, and too cute!

I would do this simple activity, and other like it in the classroom, as I love craft activities that children can complete entirely on their own. I also love simple fast ones that look effective on display and also leave enough time to complete a little writing activity with them.

We teach 'Procedures' in my state of Australia, as part of our work on 'Text Types'. Our English curriculum is structured around various text types and the students learn to read, write and talk/listen in the various text types. We do a lot of learning on the organisational features and grammatical structures within the various texts. And, we start in Kinder! Many of our kindergarten activities utilise 'proformas' - or worksheets that provide a structure for the students. Of course, we work up towards independent writing, but a proforma is usually how we begin.

Shown below,  is the 'procedure' that my daughter and I collaboratively wrote after our craft activity. As I would do within a classroom setting, I preceded this writing activity with a LOT of talk! By talking students through a text type, you are able to explore the features with a speed and ease that would be impossible in the written form. It really is like a first draft. Lots of ideas, hesitations, queries and random offerings! We organise and consolidate our thinking, reflect on our understanding and make new connections.

I asked my daughter lots of questions, and framed the discussion to get her to express precisely the steps and logical sequence of the activity.

We organise our 'procedures' to include a
Goal (usually the heading How to.....)
Materials (usually a list of equipment in the order of use)
Method (ordered steps taken to achieve the task)

In kindergarten, when forst learning procedures, sometimes we leave out the materials, and just structure the text with a goal and method. we also start out by just drawing pictures for each step.

This 'proforma' can be found in my Basic Kindergarten Writing Worksheets resources, along with many others. I am also currently preparing more worksheets to update this useful resource and make it even better value. Many of the proformas are very generic so they can be utilised in a range of learning experiences! Click on the image below if you would like to take a look at TpT.

FREE Christmas Card Template

One of my favourite activities for the last few weeks of school for the year, here in Australia, is helping the students to make a Christmas card for their family.

I have made a nice simple template for one that will be easy for little hands to make. There is not too much colouring, and plenty of space for students to write.

Print and copy the template onto card.

Have your students colour the tree halves, and the 'Merry Christmas' message.

Cut out around the edge.

Fold the trees back.

Using the line markers, fold the side panels into the front centre.

Open, and write a message inside!

Click on the image below to download the template from google docs.

Froggy Brings You 5 Fab Freebies!

Another Friday is upon us! Don't you just love Fridays! Its Friday for only 45 more minutes here in Australia, so I had better jump right to it!
I found
frog themed
resources from 5 insanely awesome TeacherspayTeachers teacher-authors for you today!
Tracy Tegelar has a  very cute frog themed craft activity that will go perfectly with any frog themed book you have!
As my sister is saying at the moment - too tute! Yes, I said my sister, not me!
Megan Mitchell has a free Frogand Toad Craft Project
Could there be two sweeter friends in the world? Love it!
Robin Sellers has a LeapFrog Origami Pattern
I know what my daughter will be making this weekend - we are right into origami right now!
Lil Country Kindergarten has made a
A frog AND a hundreds chart - what is not to love in that combination!
forkin4th has made some very sweet FrogStationery - I love that frog!
Thanks for hopping in to check them out, please remember to give these wonderful teachers some lovely feedback when you download! It will make their day - trust me!
Have a great Friday!

Bunny Counts by Twos

Yes, there is a very cute freebie coming  your way, but first, let me explain how we got there....

It all started with some cups.

Very cute paper cups that just had to be mine (and my daughters)... who am I kidding - I was in love with them!

What was I to do with them? Have a quick game of  'Cups' (any other tragic Friends fans out there?!)

Nah.... let's face it, they were always destined for a teaching or learning or crafty experience...

First, we whipped up some numbered jumbo popsticks

And gave each cute bunny cup, two ears

to help learn to count by 2s to ten.....

We talked about how you can skip every second number when counting, to get to ten faster!
We read this cute book about number 2 from the Scholastic Number Tales series.

Later after my little ones were tucked into bed, I got thinking about counting by 2s and how I have always wanted a poster number line that gives a visual reminder to skip every 2nd number. I thought about doing a picture of a bunny jumping over every second number, but settled on this one...showing how to count the number of ears on the bunny line up, but with one number made to stand out - helping our little ones to remember that the number is still there, we just don't say it!

In the classroom, I would introduce the idea of counting by 2s and then practise with this number line, pointing to the numbers and having the students whisper the lightly displayed numerals.

And you can use these posters for FREE - in your classroom or at home.Please do not re-distribute this file, if you would like to share it -send your friends over to my blog to find it!

Just click HERE To download it from google docs.

 What ceative ways do you teach counting by 2s?

Sight Words and Place Value!

Sight Words are one of my favourite things to teach. "Arrggghh" I hear you say! I am very passionate about sight words actually being TAUGHT. I see and hear so many stories from fellow mothers, of children being given a list of words from the teacher to 'do' at home.
Too often, the words are not actually being taught all that well in class,and left for mum to cope with at home. I am all for homework review, but I also try to dedicate AT LEAST a mini-lesson or literacy centre/group to sight words each and every day.
I usually follow this rough plan in a kindergarten class as follows:
  • Monday - Introduce 6 new words + read them in context (modelled + independent read)
  • Tuesday - Class Game + Literacy Group/Centre Game
  • Wednesday - Literacy Group Game
  • Thursday - Class Game + Literacy Group Game
  • Friday - Final review of words + Possible assessment of last week's words
But this changes, depending on my stduents' needs and any set programs we are running in school.
I have my focus sight words on display at all times in the classroom, both on a weekly 'focus word' section of my front teaching area and also all the words we have covered through the year on a 'word wall'. I pull out the 6 focus words flashcards from a file I keep of all sight word flashcards, and have these very handy for quick drills through the day.
I try to expose the children to the words as often as possible through the week, but also take care to make sure they are really attending, or connecting with the word. I am constantly asking them to look at the word while they are saying it, even in games and activities. I think children are at risk of just going through the motions and are not making a visual memory of the word in their mind. Making lessons short, simple and focused (and frequent!) can help prevent this.
We started a 100 Sight Words series for From the Pond, and our VERY first product was the set of flashcards in this series. We now have quite a few resources in the series, and we sell the whole entire program in one bundle on TpT. The individual files can be found on our website. We chose the top 100 words that are used in the English langauge in all that we read, for our program.

The whole premise of our program is that it is colour coded - and students can work through the colours as they learn more words. There are 20 words in each of the 5 levels. You can just talk to the studend about what 'colour' they are reading, rather than talk about 'levels'.

Here is a game you can play to revise the 100 words in our program, or you can use the idea to play with any set of words. Just choose 5 different colours to write your words on.

Here are our Flashcards Mega Pack, cut out and set out in their levels/colours. Just print the blackline file on thin coloured card. We used a font very similar to fonts used in early reading material for the sight words.

Insert corresponding coloured pieces into a dice with clear pockets. Students roll the die, and pick up a word of matching colour. If they can read the word, they keep the card until the end of play. Keep rolling and reading until all the cards have been allocated.

When students are playing games like this, I like to 'tell' the word if a students cannot read it. They look at me when I tell the word, look back to the word and repeat it while looking at the word. This is after all, what we are encouraging the students to do - attend to the print and try to practise reading the word. There is no point playing games like this if the same students miss out on participating when they have not got instant recall of the words.

You can download a template of the pieces I uses for my dice, by clicking on the image below.

Today, I also spent some time with my daughter making popstick 'bundles' to help her begin to understand place value, tens and ones. We used the mini-popsticks that we had in our craft cupboard. They are just too cute!

I wanted to play some games from my new packet:

We player "Let's Race" - building numbers and comparing quantities to win the race!

And "Make It"  - a simple game to practise building numbers and place value.

This has been on my desktop for about a week, and I was so happy to get it finished. I have had such wonderful feedback about our 'Puzzle Pastes' and requests for some with more difficult content, so here she is:

Are you not as IN-LOVE with Kimbery Geswein fonts as I am?! Love this one called 'What the Teacher Wants'. Schmick!

The puzzle paste set includes ten different worksheets, featuring a range of numbers from 10 to 50. Students have to match the numerals to the base ten pictures.

I hope your week is going well - thanks so much for stopping by!  

Piggy In the Middle!

I made these new number games for numeral identification to 20. My daughter has made so much progress, but I think I would like to see her identifying 12, 13 and 15 more readily. Do you find these numbers always trick your kinders too? Why can't we have a two-teen!?

Shoe Match
Have your students play Shoe Match to practice subitizing 1-9 and addition 10-20. They will add two dot pattern arrangements and match it to a numeral card to show the pair of shoes that match!

Students will get practice in matching numerals to dot pattern arrangements of numbers in the range 1-20

This file includes 40 game cards, recording worksheet, cover page and detailed game instructions

Find it HERE

Teen Bingo
Have you got students working on numeral identification for teen numbers 11-20. They can be tricky to learn and students need lots of exposure and practise recognizing these numerals.

Play a game of bingo to make this repetitive learning fun!

The printable file includes 6 game boards, a set of caller cards and a detailed game instruction sheet

Find it HERE

Piggy in the Middle is a fun and engaging math center for learning about numbers before and after.

It will be great for your students that are learning to recognize and order numerals 10-50. 

Students will take a card and identify the number that is missing from the 'middle'. This will help your students think about forward and backward number sequence (before/after numbers). 

Find it HERE 

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog to learn more about our printables. Have a lovely day!

5 Fab Friday Freebies From my Faves!

Frog Spot Five Freebies
This is a special edition of our Friday freebies - I have selected five of my all-time favourite TeacherspayTeachers sellers and found one of their freebies that I know you will love as much as me. I have so many favourite sellers on TpT, it was hard to choose, so no doubt, I will do another fave seller edition!
The delightful DeeDee Wills has

PotO'Gold Positional Words Treasure Hunt
in her store for you to download free.
Students will go on a scavenger hunt looking for the missing pot o' gold. They will have fun using the positional word clues to lead them to the prize. Use it as a whole group activity or a math station. This caught my eye today as I did positional language with my kinders today. I can't wait to print this one off to add to my file for 'position'.
The very talented Cindy (aka KinderKay) has a

Draw,Cut, Create, Write DOG Literacy pack FREEBIE
and let me tell you, it is super cute!
Included in this file are step by step directions to create a dog - 2 levels of writing paper upon which to form the dog and write about it - 4 posters with sentences using the number words one, two, three, and four and a full colour cover for creation of a class book
This is a must have, particularly if you are teaching a unit of work on pets or animals.
Lovely Lita Lita has
yep, you read correctly - FREE! And whats more, it is A-dorable!
The always-happy Hadar (aka Miss Kindergarten) has a very cute and colourful

I am in-love with all things 'rainbow' and this will be a colourful and fun way for your students to learn the number combinations that make ten.
The seriously SMART Lisa Rombach, has for you Smartboard loving teachers, a

This SmartBoard Lesson includes 11 pages including a detailed lesson plan, interactive pages, link to a triangle song/video, and a worksheet for your students.

I hope you have had a wonderful week, and enjoy looking at these super freebies and the A+ stores that these wonderful ladies have on TeacherspayTeachers!

Moving Forward

Please head over to Samantha (Ms Smarty Pants)'s blog to read about how you can make a huge difference in the life of a family that had their world literally turned upside down in hurricane Sandy.
I have donated my new and improved Sound Set (120 pages - 12 phonics games) to the collection you will receive for a tiny $20 donation.
The set includes 33 packets of resources and is valued at over $200
Please help! I was so proud to see that Samantha has used some of the graphics I have sent out with Premium Club to make the button for this promotion.

The Race That Stops A Nation

Are you wondering how you can possibly incorporate a little 'Melbourne Cup' into your learning tomorrow?
For my blog friends out of Australia, we have a little horse race on tomorrow, here in a small town called Melbourne. Just kidding, its a HUGE race, in a big beautiful city! It literally stops the nation. At around 3pm. EVERYONE (just about), will be watching the race, and probably involved in some sort of workplace sweep.
Depending on your school policy, you may be talking to your students about the race. I have been very fortunate the last few years to work with some great people and we are not discouraged from discussing it with the children. I like  to talk about it within the framework of our work on 'celebrations'. We talk about the horse race itself, the 'carnival' atmosphere and also tie in some work on ordinal numbers. One year we had the children wear their best Melbourne Cup hat and also did 'horse' races in the playground. Although not technically in the syllabus, I think acknowledging events and celebrations with our students at school is SO important. It helps little children engage with the world around them and start to build a framework to understand the world. I think it also provides them with some key ways to make connections with people, both at school, and at home. It encourages conversation and language at home. In other words, it's real. And kids like to talk 'real' at home. Some of our students need all the help we can give them with language and communication.
I have made these horse race themed 'puzzle pastes' that you may like to do with your class tomorrow. I know its late and I should have made you these last week.. but you know how it gets!
I have made one for addition to ten, and another to review number concepts to ten.
Download them HERE
Puzzle Pastes are our cut-and-paste puzzle worksheets. Students have to cut the pieces and match the them to the answer page provided. When they are all pasted into position, the students will see the horse picture they have created!

The worksheets have been created in black and white so that they can be easily photocopied for your class.

 We used clear, crisp, cute graphics from Scrappindoodle.coms

This file is for your personal and classroom use only. You are not permitted to share or redistribute this file at any time.
Good luck in your sweeps! I always like #8, but I can't get #11 out of my head for some reason!

UPDATE: I just found another really great freebie for Melbourne Cup over at Stef's blog - find it HERE